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Entries from November 1, 2010 - November 30, 2010


Virgin's Project magazine for the iPad

I was very excited to give this magazine a go, especially as it seemed to have beaten the Apple / Murdoch "Daily" newspaper to launch in the in app subscription model.

The first problem I encountered was actually downloading the magazine I'd just paid £1.79 for - the app itself is free, you just pay for the issues.

The download speed was terrible, glacial slow, and worse was that if you navigated away from the app on the new multitasking iPad then the download started all over again at 0% when you came back to it. You actually had to leave the Project app along while is crawled through the download. Totally ridiculous on a multi tasking device.

The second problem was that once you managed to actually download the current issue of the magazine the installation failed with an "unknown error" so it was back to the start and try to download it all over again. I wasn't the only person having these problems as a quick scan through the one star reviews on iTunes will quickly show.

I eventually managed to install it later this evening after I'd freed up 16GB of free space on my iPad; I previously had 6GB free. I've no idea how much space the download and install take but it seems huge for a digital magazine.

The final problem is that after six hours of trying and a now nearly flat iPad battery from constant download tries all evening is that the magazine itself isn't really worth the effort and the cost. The navigation is quirky and you often find yourself stuck on a page with no apparent way of moving from it and the content isn't really that interesting. I don't know how many times someone would want to sit through the animated cover page. It's interesting once or twice but not every time. It reminded my of the Wired digital magazine put far poorly implemented in comparison.

I eventually deleted the issue and the app and put my iPad on charge to replenish its depleted battery. I think I'll stick to downloading my magazines from Zinio in future


Beatles on iTunes

So I was quite exited today wondering what Apple's big announcement would be. During the day it came out that the Beatles music would now be available on iTunes but that couldn't possible be the big announcement we were waiting for? The day we would always remember?

There had been rumours about the huge new server farm being turned on and we'd get some long overdue upgrade to Mobile Me or all of our music and film content available for streaming from anywhere.

It eventually dawned on us, the Apple fanboys, that the Beatles on iTunes was it. That was the big announcement.


I felt very disappointed. Who cares? I'd picked up the Red and Blue albums while browsing at ASDA the day before and then decided they weren't really worth £8 each to me and now they were available on iTunes for £18 each. Seriously?


Glasgow to Isle of Man

Unsurprisingly we had quite a lot of bags to pack into the Boxster this morning so we took a load down with us on the way to breakfast. It have been freezing overnight and the car was very iced up. After a nice warming breakfast we packed the rest of the bags into the car and spend some time de-icing it for our drive to Heysham.

The first two lanes of motorway south was generally clear but the third lane was a bit snowy / slushy in parts which made using it to get past slower moving lorries a bit interesting. We also noticed that couple of lorries on the northbound carriageway had collided and the resultant tailback went on for some miles.

We eventually reached Heysham with some time to spare so we did a bit more shopping in ASDA and eventually had to pack those bags around my wife in the passenger seat before we headed for the boat back to the Isle of Man.


The Train To Edinburgh

We'd decided to take the train to Edinburgh today so after breakfast in the hotel we waled to Queens Street Railway Station and took the 09:30 train to Edinburgh, which arrived about 10:30

Photo: Remembrance Day parade

My wife then went window shopping while I walked up the High Street and Royal Mile, which was partitioned off for Remembrance Day. I watched some of the various parades and then walked up to castle, where I got in for free with my Friends Of Manx National Heritage card. I spent an hour or so there looking at the various rooms and exhibits.

Photo: One o'clock and Remembrance Day guns

On my way down from the castle I stopped in at the nearby Castle Arms and had sausage and mash for lunch, washed down for a couple of pints of Edinburgh Gold and watched the first half of the F1 championship deciding race.

I eventually met up with my wife again and we took train back to Glasgow. For the second evening running she didn't want to go out to eat and didn't really fancy eating in the hotel so I ended up getting some more sandwiches and snacks t the nearby Tesco Express.



We had the full day in Glasgow today. We walked to the nearest subway station - I hadn't previously realised that Glasgow had a subway - and bought two day tickets for the "Clockwork Orange" as it seems to be called locally. The subway map shows that it is just a big oval with inner and outer tracks going in clockwise and anti clockwise directions.

Photo: Spitfire at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

We rode to the station nearest the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and spent a few hours looking at the various exhibits inside, including a Spitfire. As there were signs on the subway warning of a bust football match that afternoon we decided to go back to the main shopping area and after strolling around looking at some of the shops we decided to head to Mussell Inn, where I'd enjoyed a meal the last time we were in Glasgow. I decided on the £20 fish platter, washed down with two Hoegaarden beers.

After lunch we decided to split up; my wife wanted to look around some more shops so I headed up to Sauchiehall street to find the Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Willow Tea Rooms. On the was I popped into a few electrical and photographic shops to check out the recent Canon S95 and G12 cameras as I had the earlier S90 and G9 models. I surprised myself by not buying either of them.

After a bit of a struggle and asking a few people I eventually found the Willow Tea Rooms above a jewellers shop and went up for a cup of coffee. They weren't as big or grand as I'd expected and after a hurried coffee I was soon back out in Sauchiehall street and decided to make my way back to the hotel.

My wife didn't fancy going out again for an evening meal and as I didn't want to stay in all evening I decided to go for a wander and find somewhere to eat by myself. I ended up at the Blue Lagoon chippy by the railway station and ordered a "fish tea" which was fish and chips with tea and a slice of bread. When it arrived it was a fish and a half; not just a big fish but one and a half portions of fish for some reason. My idea of leaving some of it seemed to disappear as  I munched my way through it all and staggered back to the hotel, buying some sandwiches for my wife ion the way.

For the rest of that evening I lay there with a swollen stomach, regretting all that I'd eaten.